Whether you are a tenant or homeowner, paying for utilities is essential. However, the cost of gas, water, heating, electricity and energy for a standard UK flat or home can be enormous.
According to The Telegraph, a utilities bill in the UK can range from £900 to £1200 per month for running a three-bedroom home, making up around 45pc of the average yearly salary of £27,000.
With this in mind, we are pleased to provide some basic tips to help lower your utility bills and save money.
Save money on gas and electricity
Switch to a fixed rate tariff
Your gas and electricity is typically charged on a consumption basis and are prone to fluctuations in energy prices. However, if you switch your account to a fixed tariff, you should be able to protect yourself from rising prices.
There a lot of specials through online comparison sites and providers and not only do they tend to offer cheaper rates for a fixed tariff, but there are no price rise guarantees generally for a year to a year and a half.
Accordingly, you can save around £200 a year but switching to a fixed rate tariff rather than paying your supplier’s standard rate.
It is very common to switch energy suppliers to get a better deal and there are comparison sites and services dedicated for this sole purpose. It is important that you look carefully at your energy usage and consumption and ensure that there won’t be any downtime when switching. Furthermore, it is important that you do not necessarily pick the cheapest supplier as it could be more trouble than it is worth. You must always do your homework and check the reviews and ratings of each supplier before switching using forums, facebook groups, word of mouth and review companies like Trustpilot.
Make simple savings
Simply paying a monthly direct debit for your utilities is cheaper than paying your bill in quarters as you are paying for the convenience of having to make less frequent payments. If you can afford to make monthly payments, it is worth enquiring with your supplier. Be sure to check your meter regularly to ensure that your account is not in credit as you could be entitled to a lower payment or month off.
You can also investigate getting both your gas and electricity from the same supplier as this may include a discount and there is the convenience of having less admin to do and only paying one bill.
Turn off electrical appliances
The Energy Saving Trust revealed that UK households spend between £50 and £86 a year on gadgets in a “non-active” or standby state, making up 9% to 16% of the average electricity bill. So for all those appliances, chargers, machines and gadgets that you do not use every day, simply turn off the plug, especially overnight or if you go on holiday as this could save you money.
Save money on heating
The average cost for heating and hot water using gas in the UK is around £609 per year, although this obviously depends on the size of your estate and number of people in the property. Savings can be made on your heating in the following ways:
Add radiator panels
Using a radiator is the most common way of heating up your property, but with the design of a radiator, a lot of effort is focused on heating up the wall that it sits on. By adding some radiator panels which resemble sheets of plastic, the heat will reflect and spread around the room, making it far more cost effective. In fact, spending just a few pounds on radiator panels could save you up to 15% on your heating bill.
Do some basic insulation
Basic insulation can be added to your property by finding those pesky little draughts through the floors, walls and windows and covering them up. A lot of the cold will come directly from the window so you can keep the heat in by putting up curtains, boards or adding double glazing. The warmer your flat or home, the less you will need to pay for constant heating.
You can be very clever with the timing of the heat in your home. For instance, when there is daylight and the sun is shining, you can use this to warm up your house. Even if it is only 5 degrees outside, the sun can still heat up your house.
This means that the most effective times to use your heating are during the morning and the evening when there is no sunlight. At this point, you can close the blinds and curtains to keep the heat in.
You can also avoid using electrical heaters plugged into the wall because these guzzle up electricity and power like no tomorrow.
The average British household spends around £385 on water bills per year, but reducing your consumption in these easy ways can help you save £100.
For instance, a lot of people fill up their kettle to the top when they boil it for their tea or coffee, but this means that you are using energy to boil more water than you possibly need. To save energy and money, you can fill up your cup with water and pour it into the kettle so you know exactly how much water you require for your cuppa and nothing more.
Other ways to save on water consumption include having showers instead of baths, stopping the tap more frequently when you do the dishes or turning off the tap when you brush your teeth for those 2 minutes in the morning and evening.